Don’t Lose Sight of Children in Grave Need

Lynda Freeman —  May 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

I’ve served in children’s ministry for 41 years and all this time the kids in the churches where I’ve served have been a mixture of “typical” kids . . . if there is such a thing. Children from homes where their entire family went to church, children from homes where part of their family went to church (most often from homes where their parents were divorced) and children from homes where nobody went to church (community, non-churched kids). But, in spite of all these years of experience with a fairly wide variety of children and families, I have not worked with children who were runaways. Honestly, my exposure to runaways is fairly limited . . . well, when my husband and I had been married for one year, we did work with children who were in a group home for juvenile delinquents and many of these boys were runaways at one time or another . . . but, my overall exposure was limited. I had no idea how many children in this country are runaways. This is until I added a tab to my blog for grandmas where I highlighted missing children so the grandmas (and grandpas, moms and dads) who read my blog could pray for the children and their families. I signed up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children‘s website so they email me alerts to let me know when and where children are missing. I have to say I am shocked. There are days when my inbox is filled with these alerts. (I’m stunned how many of these children are from the state of Florida)

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says, “Every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day.”  More than 2,000 children each day are reported as missing. Most of these children are runaways. Does this number shock you? It shocks and breaks my heart. So many hurting children. Just as I wrote this post I’ve received  five emails to let me know about children who are listed as Endangered Runaways. I’m stunned how many runaways are as young as 11 and 12 years old.

So . . . why am I writing about this? Well, first of all because it has been weighing heavily on my heart to see each and every day how many children are out there who feel unloved, unwanted, unsafe and who think running away is the “answer” to their problems. I also am writing this to raise awareness. I think it is so easy for us to be caught up in our ministries with primarily “church kids”, we lose sight of the children around us who are in such grave need of knowing, most importantly, Jesus loves them and knowing there are people who love and care about them, too. I’m not just talking about teenagers, but children . . . children who could be in our ministries or who could be schoolmates of the children who are.

So, for the next few posts I’ll write about what we can do to reach out to children who are at risk. Children who are in serious need. Children who we need to be praying for and who we need to keep our eyes open for so we are able to see and help them.

Lynda Freeman

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Lynda has been married to Dave for 30 years . . . they met on a volcano in Northern California! Lynda took one look at Dave and thought, “We will get married!” And so they did! They have two grown children, Tiffany (26) and Dave (25), a daughter-in-law, Jackie (26) and two grandsons; Josiah (3) and the newly arrived Caleb – they are the delight of her life! Lynda lives in West Michigan and has served in children’s ministry for 40 years . . . she started with a Wednesday night class for four year olds when she was 10 . . . and has led ministries in churches with 100 people, 1600 people and several in-between. Children’s ministry is the passion of Lynda’s heart – she wants volunteers to love serving and children to love being there so they can learn to know and walk with Jesus all their lives! Lynda worked as a consultant for Gospel Light, Group and Zonderkidz/Big Idea/Willow Creek and worked as the Church Resource Consultant for Kregel Bookstores for 13 years providing training and answering questions for churches throughout West Michigan. She has written for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Your Church Magazine, wrote some of the preschool lessons for Big Idea’s VeggieConnections curriculum, was a contributing author for Group’s Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children’s Ministry and wrote the Connections to Christ portion of the Manners that Matter curriculum from Maralee McKee. Eight years ago Lynda was diagnosed with MS, Lupus and a few other auto-immune illnesses and can no longer work “hands-on” with children . . . the stairs at her church are best avoided. However, Lynda consults with and advises her church and writes their curriculum, kidz Connection. She also writes a blog – About the Children’s Department - and is developing a series of children’s books and a resource on praying the Scripture! For fun, Lynda writes a blog for grandmas- grandma’s cookie jar (www.grandmascookiejar.net ) . . . well, grandpas, moms and dads are welcome to read it, too! You will find her on Twitter, Facebook and CM Connect .

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